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A 40 year-old inmate at Mississippi State Prison secretly dug his way out of his cell using an 8-ton Cat backhoe, prison officials said Tuesday.  The inmate, Roscoe Lee James Obidiah “Bucky” Robinson is thought to have tunneled his way out slowly over a period of 10 years.  The escape was discovered by prison officials during a routine bed check.

“We just can’t figure out where he’s been hiding that sucker.  I mean, a backhoe is pretty darn big,” said prison spokesperson John Diddleheimer.  “He might have been keeping it under his mattress and we just thought it was lumpy.”

The large hole was discovered at 6:00 AM, and led down three floors and through the back wall of the prison.  The wall was reinforced concrete 2 feet thick and thought to be escape proof.  The backhoe was found nearby.  Bloodhounds, search teams, and helicopters were dispatched but failed to locate the felon.

“It’s like he just disappeared…like a regular David Copperfield.”  Copperfield is a famous magician best known for making the Statue of Liberty and the country of Persia disappear.

Further investigation revealed Robinson had checked out the book, “How to be a Hypnotist,” on several occasions from the prison library, and one theory suggests he “hypnotized” guards whenever they entered his cell.  Further infuriating officials was speculation about where Robinson got the backhoe in the first place.

“The only thing I can think of is his girlfriend smuggled it to him inside a cake,” Diddleheimer said.  “She was kind of burly, like she could hold her own in a bar fight.”

Mississippi State Prison is no stranger to daring escapes and controversy.  In 2007, 11 inmates walked out of prison dressed as the football team the Miami Dolphins, and in 2009 several inmates drove out on minibikes and miniature cars dressed as circus clowns.

Robinson was serving 15 to 20 years for illegal possession of a dictionary, a felony in Mississippi.

“We’re reviewing and tightening our security measures so this type of thing can’t happen again,” spokesperson Diddleheimer said.  “Furthermore, guards will be warned to be on the lookout for not only backhoes, but for dump trucks and Zamboni’s too.”

In an unrelated story, the Mississippi Municipal airport located next to the prison reported a missing 747 jumbo jet.

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